During the lockdown enforced to contain COVID-19 pandemic, the environment witnessed several positive changes, a significant one being the reduction in pollution levels. According to experts, due to the significant reduction in the air and noise pollution, combined with the pesticide-free atmosphere, honeybees have become busier, resulting in an increase in honey production, reported The Indian Express.
The number of bee colonies and the health of bees has significantly improved, according to the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), which is under the Ministry of MSME.
"During the lockdown period, the quality of air improved significantly. The abundance of flora in the surrounding and a peaceful environment kept the bees busier and filled up the hives with honey in a quick time," Vinai Kumar Saxena, Chairman, KVIC, told the media.
"As compared to the usual 15 to 20 kg honey collected in each bee box, the quantity rose significantly to nearly 40 kg per box during the lockdown (March-May)," Saxena added.
The same has been observed in nearly all honey-producing states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh, among others, he added. Furthermore, with almost zero use of pesticides in the crops during this period, the bees collected pesticide-free nectar and pollen, leading to an improvement in the quality of honey.
Vijay Kasana, a beekeeper with farms in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir and other northern states, said that there is 30-40 per cent increase in honey production.
Furthermore, with improved health of the bees, the number of their colonies also saw a spike.
"In the last two months, without the use of medicine or extra feeding, the number of bee colonies has gone up," said Kasana.
In the parks maintained by New Delhi Municipal Council(NDMC), there has been an increase in the population of all variants of bees.
In NDMC parks, the population of honey bees has increased by more than 30%. Honey bees play a vital role in our food security," S Chellaiah, Director of Horticulture NDMC, told The Hindu.
A crucial part of our ecosystem and food safety, a rise in population of honeybees denotes a rise in cross-pollination, which leads to a higher farm yield.